Maritz Global Events Blog

Creative Methods to Generate More Revenue for Your Event

Do you need to find new sources of income for your events? While sponsorships have been prevalent for a long time, there are other ways to generate more revenue, including digital and print options that might surprise you.

Research Finds Sponsorships are Still Relevant

According to a new report from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), of 200 show executives and 728 exhibitors, sponsorships make up roughly 20 percent of B2B trade show revenue.

Also, 83 percent of exhibitors have purchased at least one sponsorship in the last two years.

Here is a breakdown what they purchased in the print and digital arenas:

  • 36% bought an ad in the printed program
  • 35% purchased/boosted a social media ad
  • 33% sponsored an email blast to the attendee list
  • 32% underwrote printed signage
  • 31% bought an ad that went on the event or organization's website
  • 23% sponsored an onsite banner
  • 22% purchased an enhanced directory listing

One of the challenges with multiple logos on printed signage or a banner is attendees consider it to be "logo soup."

"Members tend to walk right by them," stated Bruce Rosenthal, a corporate sponsorship consultant.

Here are several exciting new ideas if you are looking to generate more revenue and need something more than "traditional" methods.

Out-of-the-box Ideas to Generate More Revenue

Record your breakout sessions and give attendees a sponsored card that will allow viewership of them for the next 12 months.

Much like a library card, users must pull it out and log in each time, thus allowing the sponsor to see metrics related to each user.

It's genuinely a win-win: attendees get the education they want, sponsors receive the reminders they need, and you receive additional revenue that offsets the recording rental expenses.

Provide an exclusive or finite number of sponsorship opportunities.

For example, you may allow only one business classification for certain sponsorship levels or sell one or two in selected categories.

Scarcity creates an opportunity to close the deal sooner.

Give attendees a deal on your next event.

On the last day of the conference, let them know if they sign up and pay for the next meeting on that day, they will receive a significant discount.

Your organization will earn revenue up to one year early!

Sell refund protection.

One of the biggest obstacles in selling an event into the future is the possibility the attendee can't make it.

By offering refund insurance at a nominal rate, you can give each person peace of mind that they'll receive their registration fee back in the case of an emergency.

Given that only 5-7 percent of all attendees cancel, you can capture a nice reserve fund.

generate more revenue

Provide an all-inclusive online shopping cart experience.

One of the easiest ways to kill your upsell opportunities is to make participants go to multiple locations. In one fell swoop allow them to:

  • Register for your event
  • Book their hotel room
  • Identify any special food requirements
  • Purchase other items (VIP tour, networking event, clothing, books)
  • Commit to sponsorships

Use organic and paid digital marketing tactics.

Make sure your website has recent blogs, videos and podcasts highlighting your event. Optimize each for SEO.

Ultimately, optimizing your online content for SEO can help you to climb through the search engine results, and this can help your products and services to come up first.

Everyone searches for things online nowadays, and if your online content ranks highly in search results, then more people are likely to give your company a try.

That being said, the world of SEO can seem fast-paced and overwhelming, so if you are relatively new to search engine optimization techniques, digital marketing resources like this checklist might come in useful.

Alternatively, if you really don't feel comfortable doing your SEO yourself, look into outsourcing your marketing and making use of professional SEO Services and their quality link building. This means you don't have to do a thing while watching your website traffic increase!

On the paid side, consider using Google Adwords, boosting Facebook and LinkedIn posts and engaging in retargeting.

Yes, it will cost you money. In the end, however, you'll reach far more prospective attendees who will hopefully turn into attendees.

Start small on your ad spend and increase it slowly. Measure results every month at first and then every week as you get closer to the event.

Add a trade show.

It doesn't have to be large and elaborate. Exhibitions can be a real money maker for your organization because all setup costs are passed along to each exhibitor.

Three Surefire Expense Winners

If finding new ways to generate more revenue isn't panning out, you can always look at reducing expenses to plump up your profit line. Take your magnifying glass to these ideas:

Cut out the bottom 3-5 costs.

Rank each expense in descending order. Look at the bottom ones and ask yourself a question, "would anyone miss these things?" If the answer is no, get rid of them.

If the answer is yes, figure out a way to decrease the overall expenditure by 15-20 percent.

Identify your top expense and cut it by 10 percent.

Usually, your major budget items are F&B, A/V, and meeting space. Identify which one is at the top of the heap and find ways to trim expenses around it.

Create a zero-waste meeting.

No more paper or plastic items. Get ride of SWAG bags. Posters and banners? Gone.

Not only will you save money, but you'll also be showcasing your event's dedication to the sustainability movement.

De-de Mulligan is the President and Chief Content Strategist for Mulligan Management Group. As a former meeting planner who has received Ohio MPI’s Planner of the Year award twice (2006 & 2012), she brings a unique perspective to these blog posts.